In Loving Memory of our Dear Parents

Benjamin Assa & Rebeca Assa z"L

Perasha Ajare Mot - Kedoshim

Perashiot Tazria-Metzora

The Parashiot Tazria-Metzora are read together almost always, since both deal with different states of impurity that can affect a person.

 

Parasha Tazria continues with the laws of ritual impurity and purity, it begins by detailing the laws pertaining to the woman who just gave birth, 

If she gave birth to a boy, the law states that she was impure for 7 seven days, if she gave birth to a girl she was impure for 14 days and continued with 33 days in which she is still ´´affected,´´ and remained impure with all matters concerning the Bais Hamikdash.


After that, she was purified by offering two korbanot.


The Parasha continues defining the laws of impurity that affects the person stricken with tzaraat (leprosy). 

Leprosy was caused by a spiritual deficiency, that is why the person stricken was revised by a Kohen and not by a doctor. 

If the person was declared impure by the Kohen, he was isolated from the camp for 7 days. If on the 7th day he was not cured from all blemishes, the Kohen would once again declare him impure for 7 days and would revise him when those 7 days concluded. Once again he would be checked by the Kohen, if the spots disappeared he was declared pure!

The Parasha continues detailing the different cases of Tzaarat:
Inflammations, burns, leprosy on the face or head, clothes and utensils.

This parasha begins by Hashem commanding Moshe in regards to the Korbanot that the person cured from Tzaarat needed to bring in order to be purified.

"Metzorá" was the person affected by Tzáarat. 

And Hashem concludes the laws of Tzaarat by describing the symptoms and treatment of tzaarat on the walls of the house.


It continues discussing the halachot concerning impurities as a result of certain physical conditions “ZAB” for the man and “ZABA” for the woman.


And the Parasha explains when a man becomes ritually impure following seminal emissions and when a woman becomes ritually impure through her menstruation, uterine bleeding, and childbirth, a process known as NIDDA.


The Parasha ends with this phrase: “... and you should warn the Bnei Israel in regards to these impurities, to avoid perishing because of these impurities by profaning My Sanctuary...”

Parasha Shemini

This Parasha carries the name Shemini, because it narrates all that occurred on the 8th day of the inauguration of the Mishkan.


On day ´´Shemini,´´ 1st of Nissan 2449, one year after the exodus from Egypt, the Shechina descended upon the Mishkan.


Aharon and his sons took to the Altar 2 korbanot. The nation of Israel took 4 korbanot. And Aharon raised his hands and blessed the people with ´´Birkat Kohanim, ´´ the priestly blessing. 
A pillar of fire descended from the Heavens and consumed the sacrifices on the altar, all of Bnei Israel witnessed this miracle, they fell on their faces and praised Hashem. 

And then tragedy struck! Two of Aharon´s son, Nadav and Avihu, without consulting Moshe, decided to place their own fire on the mizbaya too. A Heavenly fire emerged from the Heavens and consumed them. 


Moshe, in complete dismay, consoles Aharon by telling him that Hashem had chosen his sons to sanctify His Great Name and that they should serve as an example for any one else who dared violate the laws of the Mishkan. 

Aharon kept silence and accepted Hashem´s judgement with serenity and faith. 

Moshe commands Mishael and Eltzafan, cousins of Aharon´s sons, to remove the corpses from the Mishkan. Moshe forbids Aharon and his two remaining sons, Elazar and Itamar, to exhibit any signs of mourning, since any interruption of the services of the Mishkan would ruin the joy felt by Am Israel. 
Aharon and his sons obeyed. 

Then Hashem warns Moshe and Aharon that they are not allowed to consume any alcoholic beverage prior to performing any priestly service. 

Moshe´s anger was kindled when he finds out Aharon´s sons did not eat their portion of the Rosh Chodesh sacrifice (something all Kohanim had to do). Aharon, in defense of his sons, tells Moshe that they had not participated in the sacrifice and were therefore not obligated to eat from it. Moshe accepts Aharon's defense and corrects his attitude. 

The last part of the Parasha speaks about Kashrut: ¨and these are the animals that you may eat and these are the ones that are forbidden to you...´´


The parasha continues by detailing the characteristics of the permitted and prohibited animals.


And the concluding passuk states ´´For I am the L rd your G d; you shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and you shall be holy, for I am holy . . .



DID YOU KNOW.... That on the last day of the Inauguration of the Mishkan (day Shemini) Hashem commanded that a kid goat be offered to atone for the sin of the sale Joseph?

This act atoned for the sin since after the sale the brothers dipped their clothing in the blood of a kid goat. Hashem chose this day to be appropriate because the sale of Joseph demonstrated the great rivalry that existed amongst the Tribes of Israel, and the Inauguration of the Mishkan had in its essence the purpose of uniting all of Am Israel. 


And here lies the importance of why all Yehudim need to love one another, help one another, respect each other and look after each other´s needs, so we can fulfill Hashem´s Will and with this unity bring Mashiaj in our days!!!! AMEN

Parasha Tzav

The commandments of this Parasha are specifically addressed to the Kohanim in relation to the Korbanot.


For years the Kohanim were trained on how to do the holy yet arduous sacrifices.


The Jew (not Kohen) had minimal participation in the process of the Korbanot, all he had to do was bring the animal, and before sacrificing it, he had to put his hands over the animal´s head and identify himself as the owner of the animal, assuming guilt and all they will do to the innocent creature. 

Thereafter, the entire procedure was done by the Kohen, with agility and speed they fulfilled their sacred and difficult task.

Hashem commands Moshe to begin with the Inauguration of the Mishkan. Moshe calls Aharon and his sons, the kohanim, to train them in the donning of the priestly garments. Moshe then presents them to the congregation.

The ceremony continued with some Korbanot brought by Aharon and his sons. 
Moshe assumed the role of Kohen Gadol, first and only time, for the duration of the seven Inauguration Days. 

They then prepared and ate the meat of the Korbanot.


And Moshe ordered the Kohanim to seclude themselves for 7 days in the Sacred Precinct in order to concentrate spiritually for the initiation of the services in the Mishkan. 

And Aharon and his children fulfilled all that Moshe ordered by commandment of Hashem. 

DID YOU KNOW…That there are four categories of people who need to thank Hashem for the kindness He has done for them with the "Blessing of Thanksgiving"

a) One who has crossed the ocean (an overseas flight travel, etc.)

b) One who has crossed the desert

c) One who recovered from a very serious illness

d) One who was released from prison

 

Someone who has survived one of these four situations must say a special blessing of THANKSGIVING, “Birkat Hagomel.”

 

 

Our chachamin say that when Mashiach comes, all of the sacrifices once offered in The Temple will we annulled, except the “Thanksgiving Sacrifice.” Since there will be no more sins there will be no need for korbanot.   Either way when Mashiach comes, all the tefilot that refer to pain, loss, or suffering will be abolished since there will be NO more pain, instead we will only recited tefilot of gratitude and joy.

 

May we merit the coming of Mashiach soon in our days, when all suffering will end and an era of PURE joy and gratitude will begin!! AMEN

Parasha Vaikra

This Parasha opens the 3rd book of the Chumash: Vayikra, Leviticus. Since for the most part it speaks of the rituals carried out by the Kohanim who were descendants of Aharon, a Levy = Leviticus, hence the name of this Chumash.


All the Parashiot in the book of Vayikra took place in one month.!!!

Vayikra begins with Hashem communicating the laws governing the bringing of the korbanot (offerings), the animal and meal offerings that are the central feature of the service performed in the Sanctuary.

The Jew would go to the Mishkan with his Korban and present it to the Kohen, who was in charge of conducting this Holy ritual.

The Korban evoked Heavenly satisfaction, by binding this world with the upper heavens, it called forth Divine blessing, and strengthened the bond between the Yehudi and Hashem.

Only Kosher species were acceptable for a sacrifice, so they could be eaten later.

In some cases flour and oil were used as offerings.

There were more than 50 different types of Korbanot, divided in 5 groups:
Olah, Mincha, Shlamim, Chattat and Asham. 

Olah: it was superior to all Korbanot, this gift to Hashem represented a Jew´s desire to purify himself and attach himself to Bore Olam, it was an act of gratitude.  

Mincha: Was also an act of gratitude. It was an offering consisting mostly of flour and oil.

Shlamim: was a free-will offering and through the donation of the Korban the Yehudi expressed his happiness and joy. 

Chattat and Asham: They were brought by a Jew who transgressed and wished to repent. 

Parasha Vayakel - Pikudei

The Parashah of Vayak'hel records the actual fulfillment of G-d's commandments on how to build the Mishkan, in accordance with the instructions Moshe received which were recounted in earlier parashiot. 

It should be noted that last week's parashah, Ki-Tisa, took place on the day of Yom Kippur of the year 2448, 6 months after the exodus from Egypt , and this parasha took place the morning after Yom Kippur. 

After Moshe descends from the Mount with the second tablets, he warns the Jewish Nation to observe the laws of Shabbat, Moshe tells them that they cannot transgress its laws by building the Mishkan.


Moshe continues informing them about everything related to the donations for the building of the Mishkan. All Bnei Israel began to work with eagerness toward the building of the Mishkan. Joyfully and enthusiastically all The People brought all of the necessary donations.



Betzalel and Ahaliav were chosen to build the vessels of the Mishkan. The Divine Inspiration enabled them to create the vessels exactly as Hashem had commanded. 

After a few days, the artisans informed Moshe that they had enough donations. Moshe asked the Nation to stop with the contributions.


The Parasha mentions the elaboration of: the Altar of Burnt Offerings, the Basin, the tapestries, the tent covering, the walls of the Mishkan, the Parochet, the screen for the doorway, the Ark, the Kaporet (Ark´s cover), the table, the Menorah, the Incense Altar and the courtyard. Betzalel also made the Anointing Oil holy, and the Incense of Spices pure..

This is the last Parasha of the Chumash Shemot, and just how its name indicates (pekudei = accounts) this portion of the Torah in part dedicates itself to the audit done for all of the gold, silver and copper used for the construction of the Mishkan.


The goldsmiths and the artisans presented Moshe with all of the integral parts of the Mishkan, exactly as Hashem had commanded. Realizing that they had fulfilled the Divine purpose, Moshe blesses them. 

The parasha continues with the making of the priestly garments. 


Moshe receives the order to set up the Mishkan, he then places each vessel in its proper place. 

The statement "Moshe fulfilled Hashem´s commandment as Hashem had told him” recurs throughout the Parasha numerous times, to teach us that Moshe built the Mishkan "as Hashem told him.” 

The Cloud of the Shechina descended upon the Mishkan and filled it with Its presence.

Out of respect for the Shechina, Moshe did not enter the Mishkan until the Cloud stood over the Tabernacle. 

And this is how it came about, on the first of Nissan, Moshe entered the Mishkan with much joy. 



And this is how the second book of our sacred Torah concludes!

Perasha Ki - Tisa

Hashem commands Moshe to make a census of Bnei Israel.  Each Jew had to donate a small coin valued at half-a-shekel, and through this method the census was taken.

Hashem finished entrusting Moshe with all of  the details concerning the construccion of the Mishkan; Now, they are once more commanded:

¨And the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.

It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days G‑d made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.

All this occurred on the summit of Har Sinai. 

When Moshe does not descend from the mount when expected, the  airev rav, the group of Egyptians who had joined Bnei Israel in the Exodus, convinces the Jews to make a golden calf to worship. 

Aharon knew that Moshe would come down sooner or later, and as he observed this terrible event, trying to postpone it, he started collecting jewelry, yet these rebels,out of control give there jewels for the making of an idol. The women refused to give their jewels for the formation of an image.

Aharon threw all the jewels into the fire and subsequently a golden calf emerged. And all screamed ¨"This is your god, O Israel, which brought you up out of the land of Egypt."

And Aaron saw; and he built an altar.

And G‑d said to Moshe: "Go down, for your people, which you have brought up out of the land of Egypt, have become corrupt. They have turned aside quickly from the way which I commanded them...¨ 

Hashem tells Moshe His plan to aniquilate the Jewish People. Moshe begs Him for mercy and asks Hashem for forgiveness.  Hashem accepts and postpones the punishment for such sin. 

 

Moshe descends the Mount and takes with him the luchot of Hashem, when he sees the golden calf and the celebrations around it, he throws the luchot and destroys them by the mount.

Moshe took the golden calf, burned it, crushed its remains and mixed the powder with water, and was given to Bnei Israel to drink in order to test their integrity.

Aharon explains to Moshe how this terrible sin came about, so Moshe said ¨Whoever´s heart is totally dedicated to Hashem, let him come to!¨

Only the Tribe of Levy responded to Moshe´s call.   

And Moshe said ¨Take your swords and execute all who were involved in this terrible act.¨

And this is how it came about that the Leviim executed 3,000 people, all from the airev rav.    

The next morning Moshe informs the people that he would return to heaven to ask Hashem for forgiveness. And after forty days of unceasing prayer, Hashem answers ¨I have decided that, rather than destroy K´lal Israel at once, I will remove the effects of their sin gradually throughout the generations.¨

And Hashem lets Moshe know that after this event, His Shechina will no longer be able to dwell  in the camp to guide them.   Moshe follows by removing his tent away from the camp, so he could continue receiving Hashem´s instructions and revelations. 

And every time the Shechina spoke to Moshe, a cloud of smoke descending upon Moshe´s tent could be seen.

And G‑d said to Moses: "Hew for yourself two tablets of stone like the first; and I will write upon these tablets the words that were on the first tablets, which you did break.¨

And Moshe ascends to the Mount once more on the morning of Rosh Jodesh Elul and G-d reveals to Moshe His "Thirteen Attributes of Mercy":

1. HaShem´s mercy (before the sin)

2. HaShem mercy (after the sin)

3. Power

4. Compassionate

5. Gracious

6. Long-Tempered

7. Abundant in mercy

8. Great in truth

9. Keeps mercy for a thousand generations

10. Bears iniquity

11 Willful transgressions

12. Unintentional sins

13. Cleanses

And when Hashem finishes, He restablishes His covenant with Am Israel.

Moshe stayed in Heaven 40 days and 40 nights. And on the 10th of Tishrei Hashem forgave Bnei Israel for the sin of the golden calf, Hashem designated this day as a day for forgiveness for future generations: the day of Yom Kippur.

When Moshe descended with the second tablets, his face shone with the reflection of the Divine Rays of Glory.  Moshe covered his face with a veil in order not to cause fear amongst his people.  He uncovered it only when speaking to Hashem or when teaching Torah.

 

 

Parasha Tetzave

G-D says to Moshe, ¨You shall command the children of Israel, that they bring to you pure olive oil crushed for the light, to raise an everlasting flame.¨ And with this order, Bnei Israel receives a new mitzvah, the kindling of the menorah with the purest of oils, oil obtained from the first pressing of an olive oil.

Hashem assigns Aaron and his descendents to be Kohanim, and Aharon becomes the first Kohen Hagadol.

 The Kohen Hagadol wore 8 priestly garments: 

1.THE BREAST PLATE (CHOSHEN MISHPAT): 

It was a square chest plate, containing 12 gems, in each was engraved the name of the 12 sons of Yaacov.. 

2.THE APRON (EFOD): 

It was an apron woven with golden threads. Its back was supported by two shoulder straps overlapping the kohen´s shoulders to the front. The stones were engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 

3. THE MANTEL (ME´IL):

It was a sleeveless mantle made of sky blue wool, attached to its bottom hem were adornments that tinkled when the Kohen walked.

4. THE HEADPLATE (TZITZ):

Worn on the Kohen´s forehead, it was a golden plate on which was engraved the letters ¨kodesh laHashem.¨

5. SHIRT (KETÓNET):

Shirt-like garment woven from white linen, reached down to the kohen´s soles.

6.BREECHES (MICHNASAYIM):

They were woven from white linen.

 7. THE BELT (AVNAIT):

It was a belt woven from four different kinds of materials. It was very long and went around the kohen´s waist several times.

8. THE TURBAN (MITZNEFET, MIGBA´AS): 

It consisted of a long ribbon of white linen that wrapped around the kohen´s head several times. 

The Kohanim wore four garments:

  • the ketonet, the shirt

  • the mishnasayim, the breeches

  • the avnait, the belt

  • the migba´as, the turban

 Moshe presented Aharon and his children, by the entrance of the Mishkan, dressed in their priestly garments. The inauguration of the Mishkan lasted seven days.

 Hashem commands that a lam be offered on the mizbach every morning and every afternoon.

And Hashem affirms the sanctity of the Mishkan, and announces that this will be His dwelling next to Bnei Israel.

 THE INTERIOR ALTAR, THE MIZBACH HAPENIMI (which is not described in the previous parasha): 

It was made of shittim wood and covered with pure gold, measured 60 square centimeters and its height was 1.20 meters. It was located in the kodesh section between the shulchan and the menora and it served for the burning of the ketoret, (incense), which was done every morning and every afternoon. Hashem said, ¨The ketoret is the most beloved of all offerings. All the other korbanot atone for transgressions, but the ketoret is offered purely to bring joy and happiness.¨

Only after the ketoret was offered did the Shechina come down to reside in the Mishkan.

 

Perasha Teruma

This Parasha details the construction of the Mishkan (Tabernacle) that accompanied the Bnei Israel throughout the desert. 

After Hashem proclaims the 10 Commandments and then the social laws (Parasha Mishpatim), Hashem, Now  instructs them to build a Mishkan, or “dwelling,” in which Hashem will “dwell within them” as a constant presence in the Israelite camp.

The people of Israel contribute materials for the construction of the Mishkan: gold, silver and copper, wool, flax, goat hair, animal skins, wood, olive oil, spices and gems, amongst other things.

On the summit of Har Sinai, Moshe is given detailed and explicit instructions on how to construct this dwelling for Hashem. 

Hashem shows Moshe the design and the measurements of the building and of each vessel specifically.
1. THE HOLY ARK- AARON HAKODESH: 
The most sacred vessel of the Mishkan.  Build of wood but overlaid with pure gold.  It measured 1.5 meters x 90 cms x 90 cms.  On the top it had he figure of two Golden Keruvim.  Inside were the Lujot.

2.THE TABLE- THE SHULCHAN
Made of shittim Wood and overlaid with gold.  It measured 1.2 meters x 60 cms.  It had four legs, the Lechem Hapanim were placed inside each compartment each Friday and remained fresh until the following Shabbat.

Same as THE HOLY ARK, it had two rings on each side where the rods were placed for it to be transported. 

3. CANDELABRUM - MENORA: Made of one piece of pure gold.  It measured 1.8 mts.  It had a central branch and three arms on each side making that a total of 7.

4.THE TABERNACLE- MISHKAN: Measured 18 meters x 6 meters.  Its walls were of wood overlaid by gold with a silver base.  All of the inner walls were covered by curtains that were finely woven and beautiful skins covered the ceiling.

5.THE DIVIDING CURTAIN-PAROCHET :        It was a fine tapestry held by 4 pillars which divided the sacred from the MOST sacred (Kodesh Hakodashim), it measured 6 meters x 6 meters. 

6.DIVIDING SCREEN - MASACH: It was like a special curtain woven of a twenty-four-fold thread and sewn onto it from both sides were designs of keruvim.

7.THE ALTAR - MIZBACH:
There were 2 alters: 
-The exterior altar or the Haolah, also called mizbach hanechoshet was were the korbanot were offered, it was overlaid with copper. It measured 3 x 3 meters.  A smooth ramp led up to the mizbach. The interior altar is described in the following Parashiot.

8. THE COURTYARD- CHATZAIR

It was an area that was used for the daily services.  It measured 60 meters by 30 meters.  It was surrounded by fine linen curtains and its frontal part facing east, had a grand portal which measured 12 meters.

Perasha Mishpatim

This Parasha contains a great number of laws Hashem taught Moshe immediately after the giving of the Torah.

 

Some of the laws cited in this Parasha are laws concerning:

-Slavery

-Damage done to his fellow man

-Civil liability for loans and deposits

-Abuse of minors

-Witchcraft

-Idolatry

-Proper treatment of a converse

-Prohibition against afflicting a widow or an orphan

-Robberies

-Loans

-Respect

-Bikurim

-Prohibition against eating Taref

-Returning something lost

-Lies, injustices and bribes

-Shmitta (Sabbatical Year)

-Observance of Shabbat

-Observance of Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkoth

...Among others

 

Hashem then promises Bnei Israel protection throughout their journey in the desert.

 

Hashem advises the Bnei Israel to follow His precepts so they can receive His blessings and inherit the PROMISED LAND, the conditions necessary to conquer it and the warning against assimilation.

 

At the end of Parasha Mishpatim, the Torah relates events which took place prior to Matan Torah. It narrates how Hashem commanded that Moshe, Aharon and his children, along with the 70 Elders should ascend the mountain. On that day Moshe wrote the first Sefer Torah.

The Torah then continues narrating what occurred after the giving of the Torah: ¨And Hashem said to Moshe, "Come up to Me to the mountain and remain there, and I will give you the stone tablets, the Law and the commandments, which I have written to instruct them."

 

 

And Moshe ascended the Har Sinai, and remained there for 40 days and 40 nights studying Torah in detail and with explanations.

Parasha Itro

This Parasha narrates the reunion between Moshe and Itro, his father-in-law, Tziporah, his wife, and their two children in from of Har Sinai.

His wife and children had returned to Midian to avoid the sufferings in Egypt and reached the desert where Bnei Israel camped.
Moshe receives his father-in-law with the best of honors, and narrates all the miracles which Hashem performed for the people of Israel and how they were saved by Hashem.

And Itro recognized Hashem!!  

Itro advises Moshe to appoint judges to assist him in the strenuous task of governing and administering justice to the people.

With approval from Hashem, Moshe accepts Itro´s proposal and assigns judges for the simpler tasks and reserves the most difficult for himself.  

The Children of Israel arrived to the Sinai desert on the 1st of Sivan 2448, and they camped there.

Hashem sent Moshe to transmit the following message to Bnei Israel.

“…. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice, and keep My covenant, you shall be My own treasure from among all peoples, for all the earth is Mine.  And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.”

And in unison The People answered: NAASE VENISHMA!!! (All that Hashem speaks we will do) without knowing what would be asked of them!! 
And The People prepare for Matan Torah, the giving of the Torah.  They had to abstain themselves from intimate relations, to purify and sanctify themselves around the Har Sinai for three days without touching it.

On the 6th of Sivan, which was Shabbat, in the morning, there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mountain, and the sound of a shofar exceedingly loud, so that all the people in the camp trembled.

And Moshe descended towards the People. 

 Hashem came down upon Mount Sinai, on the top of the mountain. Hashem called Moshe up to the top of the mountain, and Moshe went up . 
And Hashem spoke the first two commandments of the Torah.  The other eight were taught to The People by Moshe. 

  1. I Am Your G-d who took you out of Egypt. 
  2. Have No Other G-ds
  3. You Shall Not Take G-d's Name In Vain 
  4. You Shall sanctify the Shabbat day and keep it holy
  5. You shall respect your father and your mother
  6. You Shall Not Murder 
  7. You Shall Not Commit Adultery 
  8. You Shall Not Steal 
  9. You Shall Not Bear False Witness 
  10. You Shall Not Covet

 

 The People are overwhelmed by all that they see and hear, and beg Moshe: “You speak with us, and we shall hear; but let not Hashem speak with us, lest we die!”

“Do not fear” Moshe tells them, for it was a great privilege that Hashem gave you.  
The Parasha concludes with a number of laws, including the prohibition  to use any irontools in constructing an altar to Hashem.


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